Barbecue starts mobile home fire in Carson City

A fire that ripped through a North Carson City mobile home Tuesday was likely caused by a malfunctioning gas barbecue, officials said.

No one was injured in the fire, which was reported at 6 p.m. from the Comstock Mobile Village, across the street from the fire training facility near College Parkway and Graves Lane. When firefighters arrived minutes later, dispatched from another call, a section of the carport, kitchen and exterior wall of the home were ablaze.

"We can't say it will be a total loss," Assistant Fire Chief Steve Mihelic said of the damage. "The fire probably started with leaking propane, went to the steps and went up the side of the wall."

Sections of the doublewide-sized home were ruined, either gutted by fire personnel extinguishing embers, or melted by intense heat. A portion of the aluminum carport hung down, melted by 1,200-degree flames.

The home was occupied by Stan and Barbara Nesbitt, longtime residents of the park, according to neighbors. Most of the homes in the park were manufactured in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Neighbors Dorothy and Chet Horning were inside their home across the street when they heard the propane tank explode and went to investigate.

"We heard the thing go off and we came out here and we saw Stan trying to put it out with a fire extinguisher," Dorothy said. "He was worried about his car, but he was able to get it out in time."

Despite his efforts, Stan was not able to extinguish the fire. Firefighters were able to save some of the Nesbitts' personal effects from the smoke, water and fire damage that took over much of the home.

Although the other homes were not immediately susceptible to the fire's spread, the Hornings did express concern about a field behind the burning home. Fifteen to 20 vehicles occupy the private parcel.

"They haven't been touched for years and they all have gas tanks," Chet said.

Two engines and one ambulance were at the scene of the fire.


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